Ecofrugality: Consume Less, Earn More

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In a society where superfluous and unreasonable consumption is a frequent tendency, some have decided to think about alternate ways of doing things. Ecofrugality and the Ecofrugalproject are a part of it.

This idea came to Philippe Green (pseudonym), in 2012, a former banker who become the apostle of ecology. This Frenchman wants to make people understand that bettering one's lifestyle and improving savings can be achieved through reducing one's environmental impact.

Convince by focusing on the wallet.

A dysfunctional phone battery and it is the entire phone that will spend its last days in a drawer or even in the garbage can. We have all been guilty of it, at least once.

It is exactly to avoid this kind of waste that Philippe Green has coined the concept of ecofrugality, "at the crossroads between economics and ecology", according to him.

"My personal approach was to use this powerful object that is money to achieve virtuous ends", explains the former financier who has not given up his first love - economics.

Over 730 dollars saved by using the Vélib’, Paris' large-scale bycycle sharing system. 400 dollars saved by making your own fizzy water. 30% saved on the electric bill by using a simple programmable thermostat. Philippe Green has endless examples on how he manages to always save more.

All a matter of sobriety

For this responsible consummer, the necessity of ecofrugality came about because of a "transformation in the way we consume. Our society and the market that feed it are saturated. Consummers have new demands, that are less about quantity than it used to be", explains Philippe Green.

At a first glance, ecofrugality seems quite similar to the concept of "degrowth", which aims to distance itself from the dogma that says that growth is the solution to all economic ills.

But for the ecologist Jean-Marie Pelt, this reasoning is not totally right: "The principle of ecofrugality is purely sustainable consumption. According to me, this principle will slowly replace our current consumption model, and will lead us to what Pierre Rabhi calls 'happy sobriety'."

The more, the merrier

On the internet platform of the Ecofrugalproject, everyone is invited to share best practices to "spend less, live better and act now", as the slogan of the website says. Over 700 users have already been convinced by this collaborative experience.

How to repair your electronics on your own, or shrink your water bill by collecting rain water are just some of the simple yet very effective snippets of advice that Phillippe Green puts together in easily accessible, practical ways. He just finished his first ecofrugal guide, "the book I would have liked to have when I started this whole journey", he admits.

If the word ecofrugality is new, the idea of collaborative consumption that it promotes is not. The internet and networks enable people to share electrical domestic appliances that aren't used, or to rent out your camera or your car to your neighbors. Directly from owner to owner.

A concept that needs to snowball 

Through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), ecofrugality can be accused of greenwashing and of being sailing points to consumers. Philippe Green hopes however that this new way of consuming will spread amongst small entreprises. "If saving money encourages them to go for ecofrugality, that's for the best."

Photo credit: e-magic/Flickr

Translated from French

Check our coverage on sustainable consumption in French.

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